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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Whats Happening in Lebanon?

Mouallem Accuses U.S of Blocking Solution in Lebanon

20/12/2007 Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem on Thursday accused the United States of "blocking a Syrian-French attempt" to settle the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon and criticized Paris for not rejecting Washington's approach.

Talking to a group of reporters in Damascus on the Lebanon situation, Mouallem also expressed "regret because the French did not commit to distancing themselves from the American role."

"Unfortunately, the French did not show a commitment to distancing themselves from the American role that blocked the Syrian-French attempt to reach a solution," Mouallem said.

However, he said, Syrian-French "contacts regarding Lebanon persist." He said that an agreement had been reached between Paris and Damascus on a "declaration of principles that includes the election of a consensus president who is Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman, the formation of a national unity government and amending the election law."

Mouallem criticized the recent mission in Lebanon by U.S. Undersecretary of State David Welch, saying Washington "is not for consensus among the Lebanese, but wants a conqueror and a vanquished. “Washington wants the majority to monopolize the decision-making in Lebanon,” he charged.

"We believe that forming a national unity government is as important as electing a new president because it would lead to activating all constitutional institutions, end the sit-in and pave the way for a thorough national dialogue," Mouallem said in echoing a call by the Lebanese national opposition for agreement on a "basket" of conditions prior to facilitating Suleiman's election.

"Syria does not exert pressure. It encourages and urges (its Lebanese allies)," Mouallem said. "The position of the opposition groups is legitimate. They don't demand seats in the cabinet more than their share in parliament." "Syria plays a constructive role and does not interfere," the Syrian FM concluded.

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